During fabrication operations carried out at Melox, some fuel pellets do not meet all the quality criteria required by our customers. These pellets, referred to as scrap, can make up a scrap assembly or remain as pellets conditioned in specific containers.
To provide this support, the La Hague site will use existing facilities not needed for operating current workshops and meeting all the requirements for safety and protection of the material. The solution presented to the French Nuclear Safety Authority involves implementing storage modules for MOX scrap containers in the form of racks. The modular design of these storage facilities will limit the number of handling operations. This solution, already tested, meets all current safety standards (criticality risk, seismic resistance, etc.) and does not pose any additional risks.
The operational storage capacity for plutonium containers and scrap containers at the La Hague site is 6,467 containers. As of August 31, 2021, 1,722 places were occupied by scrap containers. The objective of Orano’s request is thus to create new storage specifically for the scrap containers, which will increase the storage capacity by 20 to 25%.
These measures are being implemented in close collaboration with the French Nuclear Safety Authority.
These isolated industrial difficulties do not call into question the value of recycling which reduces waste volume and saves natural resources.